My Freckles Ugly Cousin

So. I’m sort of a mole-y person.

I guess it’s just a part of the dark hair, olive complexion. Well, that and I used to sunbathe on TIN FOIL, slathered in baby oil in Jr. High.

There’s that.

But, honestly, with my crazy-busy life, it has never once occurred to me to have “my moles checked.”

Which is as exciting as it sounds. Woohoo!

I was still proud I followed through with my first base-line mammogram 3 years ago.  Until I realized I was a year behind on my annual exam. Clearly, I’m in the maintenance mode of life.

I visited with my out-of-state brother for the first time in a long while the other day and after he hugged me, he said, “You’ve really got a lot of wrinkles around your eyes.” (You’d have to know my brother).

THEY. ARE. CALLED. LAUGH. LINES.

Only I wasn’t laughing.

Anywho, back to the riveting mole post.

Having my “moles checked” wasn’t in the life plan, but long story short, a friend of a friend, died from a mole turned fatal melanoma at age 40.

Um, “mole check” for one, please?

A few weeks later, taking a break from my busy-crazy life, I found myself in a paper gown.

[lowdown on the process-it's pretty thorough-but not too terrible of an experience]

I thought for sure, my sun-induced freckles and spots would bring a lecture. I was surprised the doctor focused in on a mole I had on my hip since childhood.

And then she said, “I don’t like the look of it. I think we should send it to the lab.”

Quicker than I could blink, she was giving me an injection and cutting it off for a biopsy.

I was a little worried, thanks to Google (beware of searching “Moles” under Google Images. Ick)

After a week of uncertainty, I received a call from the doctor.

“Your mole was abnormal. Pre-cancerous-the kind of mole that is likely to turn into melanoma. It’s very good we removed it. We will need you to come back often for more checks.”

Holy Moly.

I was relieved and thankful for the series of events that led me to the doctor.

Who knows, if you’re reading this, it might just save your life.

Or at least make you more comfortable in your own skin.

[insert prompt here to go have your "moles checked" y'all]

P.S. Whatever you do, don’t pull a Kramer (Seinfeld) and try removing your moles with a deli meat slicer.

An oldie, but goodie:


Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Oooooh boy. Ok girlfriend, if you did, I can do it. I’m covered in moles. Already had a few removed in my younger years. My poor 6 year old has them popping up all over and I feel for him, poor kid got my skin I guess. So I’ve never actually been to a dermatologist at all as an adult, but this Houston sunshine is doing a number on my skin. I’ll call and make an appointment. You got me.

  2. 2

    says

    You know what’s crazy, Kristen? I’ve always been a freckly person and was recently at a splash pad with my kids in a tank top. A casual friend asked if I’d ever been to a determatologist, which I kind of laughed at…until she said: “I had melanoma 10 years ago – and one of those spots on your back is REALLY dark…you should have it checked out.” I went home and made an appt that day – it’s not til the end of June, but at least I’ll get checked out. Glad you got checked out, too. :)

  3. 3

    says

    It is a very smart idea to get moles checked regularly. Funny story though. I went in for a check at a free skin cancer clinic recently and I could hear them talking in the hall about me. My cousin has melanoma so that was on my chart. The drs decided I was mistaken and were going to set me straight, because they said melanoma just ins’t that common. Well, I told them they removed most of his nose and he was in chemo, then they believe me and checked me thoroughly!

  4. 5

    says

    So true — and many insurance companies will cover it as preventive care, a once-a-year benefit. I call to make all of these appointments on my birthday, so I won’t forget when I had my last one done.

  5. 6

    says

    Yeah I get my moles checked yearly, also. I’ve had three removed, but none of them have been precancerous. I’m like you – dark hair, olive skin, used to slather myself in tanning oil. My husband has had three moles removed that WERE precancerous. So scary. Glad you got checked out. :)

  6. 7

    says

    A couple months ago I went to mt regular dr. and turns out I had a kidney stone. . .it had been, are you ready? four years since I had been to the Dr. I couldn’t believe it–my ob/gyn had been my best friend with the birthing of babies–turns out, I need to go in this summer for a lab work up and physical–I’ll put a dermatologist on my list too. We get so busy in life sometimes we aren’t as pro-active as we might be with our kids. Thanks for the post!

  7. 8

    says

    My family physician noticed a couple of strange looking moles on my back while listening to my lungs when I had bronchitis. I visited a dermatologist and had about 5 different moles removed. Just like you, some of the ones I’d had since my childhood were precancerous.
    Thanks for giving this little PSA. So glad that you had your moles checked!!

  8. 11

    says

    Wow! Thanks for the great (light-hearted) reminder! My daughter (5) has a mole in her inner thigh area… I suppose I should get that checked out before she gets embarrassed to show a M.D. that area…

  9. 12

    Kysia says

    Don’t forget to check your kids too. My daughter (10) has to get checked due to the same thing. Please, sunscreen your kids!

  10. 14

    Amber Byrd says

    Thanks for the reminder for sure! I haven’t had my moles looked at since I stopped seeing my dermatologist for acne! I am also a moley person, but all of mine are the irregular type, that are supposed to signal malignancy. Apparently if that is your normal, then they are okay, but it makes a girl nervous anyway!

  11. 15

    Erin-Joi says

    I used to schedule a dermatology visit whenever I thought of it, usually about 5 years apart. Then my father started having moles removed for biopsy. That’s when I switched to every other year. He has now had two malignant moles removed. On my last visit my doctor said that given family history, I should get my moles checked every year. I now add that visit, the gyn and mamogram to my calendar reminders.

  12. 16

    says

    First of all, Seinfeld is by far one of my all-time favorites.

    Second of all, I just read an article in a magazine about mole checks today and then I read this post. I have never thought about getting it done (and I am a moley person!). Now I am thinking I should schedule a check. I have a mole on my stomach, right above my belly button, that has been there since the dawn of time. After two pregnancies, it has stretched and skewed and doesn’t look quite right. Now I am always worried that it could be cancerous and transforming/growing slowly and I would never notice since it is no longer the mole I knew by heart. Thank you for this post!

  13. 18

    says

    Praise God for the prompting that sent you to get checked out. Our small town lost a 30 year old police officer to melanoma last year and I know it served to send several of us in the community to get our moles checked out. Glad yours is gone!

  14. 19

    says

    You are confirming what has definitely been on my mind. Thanks for posting these Kristen! I wish my younger self would have been smarter and less vain with all the sun bathing and tanning I did!

  15. 20

    marfmomma says

    I had two moles removed in February, 2008. they were malignant melanomas. everything turned out ok, just a really scary time in my life. I get checked as often as I need. I am glad you posted this….hopefully it will encourage others to get their skin checked as well.
    I am gonna check out Amy’s Finer Things blog.

    cheryl

  16. 21

    says

    Here’s something I learned this week (funny you should mention moles and dermatology here) when we took my 7yr old daughter in to a dermatologist to have a rather large growth under her arm looked at. What started as what looked like a tiny skin tag quickly grew in size and became irritating. My daughter would no longer show it to me after awhile, because every time I saw it I was more concerned. Finally, one day I got a call from her school nurse. She said it had scraped open and was bleeding and she had come to the nurse’s office for a bandaid. The nurse was very concerned and said I should get her in to see a doctor immediately. I hung up and immediately dialed a dermatologist that my family goes to. Monday we saw the physician’s assistant in the dermatology office. I was terrified – I had personal knowledge of a young man who had a small mole on his leg that took his life within 4 months of someone saying he “should have it looked at”. I have to say, it was a long wait for this appointment. Long story short, he diagnosed it as “molluscum contagiosum” and it is a virus – the same virus that causes chicken pox. It is very contagious to oneself, because they can transfer it to other parts of the body (like you said – don’t Google it and look at images, scary stuff). Also, it can be transferred to others by sharing clothing, towels and bathwater. I wanted to tell you all this so that other moms might recognize this in their own kids. It begins in the same locations as chicken pox did when we were kids — the groin, the armpits, creases, etc. It can be treated with acid creams, laser treatments, or by freezing them off. Right now we’re doing the acid cream. Looks like it’s working, thankfully. I personally think this is “today’s version” or manifestation of the chicken pox virus post-vaccination, and all my kids have had the vaccine by the way. Interesting, so I thought I’d share…given it was a small skin tag or mole (so we thought) that sent us to the doctor. Glad you are getting yourself checked out, Kristen. I’m getting ready to have the “mapping” done soon, myself, due to a strong history of skin cancer in my family. Take care!

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